Creating a small business starts with a dream, a plan or a goal, and you quickly get off and running with your idea or product. A website needs to be at the top of your priority list. In this digital age, without a website, it’s as though your small business is invisible.
Choosing to be a small business owner is a great option for recovering addicts, and you can make it work. Here’s what you need to know about creating a small business website and how to get started.
Step One: Choose a Platform
If you already know something about coding or have a web developer as a friend who will do you a favor and get your web page set up, that’s wonderful. For most people, though, the easiest thing to do is to choose a content management system (CMS, sometimes “content management software” or a platform). In fact, unless your small business is web-development related and you want to show off your customization skills, it’s probably best to go with a CMS, which can save you time and money.
Plus, the platforms out there are beautiful and customizable! A content management system does not require technical expertise. You choose the look and functions of your website. You even have the option to take payments on it (more on that later).
Some of the most popular website platforms include Squarespace, WordPress, Weebly, and Tumblr. Do some quick research on the pros and cons of each and choose one that you like the look of.
Step Two: Create the Site
Once you’ve settled on the host and chosen and registered your domain name, it’s time to start creating your website. For many of the more popular content management platforms, like WordPress, you have numerous plugins available to customize your site. (Word of caution: sometimes fake plugins exist, basically created by hackers for nefarious purposes, so do a little search of the exact name of a plugin and see what people are saying about it before downloading it. Don’t be the first one to use a plugin, use ones others have successfully implemented).
You can make your website accept payment, work on a smartphone, and work with SEO (search engine optimization). Make your website content visually appealing, and get input from friends or associates you trust. A solid and appealing design will help you get and keep traffic on your site. Your goals for the setup should be 1) useful to customers 2) visually appealing and 3) easy to find and navigate.
Step Three: Keep it Going
Launch your site as soon as you can, but don’t leave it out there doing nothing. A website should be a resource for you and your clients or customers, providing the data they desire and the interaction you need.
If you get feedback from customers that any function is not working or not easy to find/navigate, fix it asap. Many potential clients or customers will not tell you there is a problem, they will just bounce off of your site and look elsewhere. So, if you get that valuable input you will need to act on it.
Active websites also get to be the top pages when people do searches, which is another point about SEO and worth educating yourself about. As you create new content, blog, or otherwise implement a content marketing strategy, you’ll also start to increase the visibility of your website.
Maximizing your website can also make you additional income, but be wary of too much ad space or annoying pop-ups that will drive business away.
Have ideas for other small business owners? Comment below.